Research & Technology
Spectrum Health joins NIH in launching the All of Us Research Program to advance precision medicine
Enrollment set to open nationwide for historic research effort
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 1, 2018– On May 6, the National Institutes of Health will open national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program—a momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds—in collaboration with Spectrum Health and other partners. People ages 18 and older, regardless of health status, will be able to enroll. The official launch date will be marked by community events in cities across the country as well as an online event. Spectrum Health will participate in an event at Ford Field in Detroit on the day of the launch.
Program enrollees will join more than 25,000 individuals across the United States who have already enrolled in All of Us as part of a year-long beta test to prepare for the program’s national launch. The overall aim is to enroll one million or more volunteers and oversample communities that have been underrepresented in research to make the program the largest, most diverse resource of its kind.
“The time is now to transform how we conduct research—with participants as partners—to shed new light on how to stay healthy and manage disease in more personalized ways. This is what we can accomplish through All of Us,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD
Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup, including genes. By partnering with one million diverse people who share information about themselves over many years, the All of Us Research Program will enable research to more precisely prevent and treat a variety of health conditions.
“All of us are unique, but today we live mostly in an era of ‘one-size-fits-all’ medicine,” said Eric Dishman, director of the All of Us Research Program. “I’m alive today because of precision medicine and I think everyone deserves that same opportunity no matter the color of your skin, your economic status, your age or your sex or gender. In other words, it will truly take all of us.”
All of Us seeks to transform the relationship between researchers and participants, bringing them together as partners to inform the program’s directions, goals and responsible return of research information. Participants will be able to access their own health information, summary data about the entire participant community and information about studies and findings that come from All of Us.
Participants are asked to share different types of health and lifestyle information, including through online surveys and electronic health records (EHRs), which will continue to be collected over the course of the program. At different times over the coming months and years, some participants will be asked to visit a local partner site to provide blood and urine samples and to have basic physical measurements taken, such as height and weight. To ensure that the program gathers information from all types of people, especially those who have been underrepresented in research, not everyone will be asked to give physical measures and samples. In the future, participants may be invited to share data through wearable devices and to join follow-up research studies, including clinical trials.
Also in future phases of the program, children will be able to enroll, and the program will add more data types, such as genetic data. In addition, data from the program will be broadly accessible for research purposes. Ultimately, the All of Us Research Program will be a rich and open data resource for traditional academic researchers as well as citizen scientists—and everyone in between.
NIH has funded more than 100 organizations throughout the U.S. to be partners in the program, including Spectrum Health, which is raising public awareness about the program, helping to enroll participants throughout West Michigan, and gathering and curating participant data for use in research.
“What makes this program unique is that the participants are our partners,” said Dave Chesla, director of research operations at Spectrum Health. “Not only can you participate, but there’s a bidirectional flow of information that really differentiates this program. As a participant, I will be able to go online through my participant portal, see my information and also glean new information about myself. It’s very uncommon to have this level of transparency.”
“The All of Us Research Program is an important, national study that may have implications for human health and disease management for years to come,” said Spectrum Health Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Research Steve Heacock. “Spectrum Health is proud to partner with the NIH and others across the nation to bring this opportunity to the people of West Michigan.”
Spectrum Health has carefully chosen its clinic locations to attract a diverse sampling of the area’s populations. Multiple clinics will operate throughout the system at all times, but at least two or three of those may shift in response to seasonal population trends. For the most up-to-date clinic locations, check www.spectrumhealth.org/allofus .
On the program’s May 6 launch date, the All of Us Research Program will host special events in diverse communities around the country.
Spectrum Health is part of the Trans-American Consortium, which is led by Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and includes Baylor, Scott & White Research Institute in Texas, Essentia Health headquartered in Minnesota, and University of Massachusetts Medical School. The May 6 launch date will be marked by local and national simulcast speakers, interactive activities and performances at Ford Field in Detroit from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Local speakers include Dr. Adnan Munkarah Chief Clinical Officer, Henry Ford Health System, and U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell, activities include a community educational fair on the field and entertainment is provided by the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.
People also may take part in social media activities (#JoinAllofUs) or tune in at https://Launch.JoinAllofUs.org to watch speakers across the country talk about precision medicine and the power of volunteering for research.
To learn more about the program and how to join, please visit https://www.JoinAllofUs.org.
“All of Us” is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage, comprising 31,000+ team members, 14 hospitals (including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital), a robust network of care facilities, teams of nationally recognized doctors and providers, and the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, currently serving over 1 million members across the state of Michigan. People are at the heart of everything we do. Locally governed and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are focused on our mission: to improve health, inspire hope and save lives. Spectrum Health has a legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Through experience, innovation and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness.